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Full text of "A new vision for a Washington landmark : design guidelines for the expansion and completion of the National Building Museum, Washington, D.C."

A New Vision for 

A Washington Landmark 



Design Guidelines 
FOR THE Expansion and 
Completion of the 
National Building Museum 
Washington, D.C. 









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A NEW Vision for a Washington Landmark 



Design Guidelines 
FOR THE Expansion and Completion 
OF THE National Building Museum 
Washington, D.C. 




Report of the Design Charrette Team 
August 1995 

Prepared for the 

General Services Administration 

and the National Building Museum 

Prepared by the 

Design Program of the 

National Endowment for the Arts 



Thomas Walton, Ph.D. 

Rapporteur 

School of Architecture and Planning 

The Catholic University of America 

Washington, DC 



Background Notes and the Design Challenge 



In its most recent mission statement (September 
1993), the National Building Museum recon- 
firms its unique commitment to "examining 
and interpreting the many aspects of building 
in America. " In particular, it seeks to honor 
and explore - in the words of noted architec- 
tural critic and historian Brendan Gill - "the 
unremarked anonymous architecture of city 
streets, of factories, of country barns, and 
churches, [for it] is largely in this vernacular 
architecture that the history of America may 
be read, manifosting as it does the skills of a 
hundred disparate occupations: masons, car- 
penters, plumbers, electricians, metalworkers, 
roofers, and painters." In this profile, the goal 
of the Museum is not to focus on individual 
monuments (that task is left to others), but 
rather, to analyze the broad context of the built 
environment in the United States and to high- 
light the hard work and many talents that went 
into creating it. In the end, the hope is that by 
better understanding the past, we will be able 
to design a richer and more viable future. 

The idea for such a museum was first dis- 
cussed almost three decades ago and moved 
towards reality when a Committee for the 
Museum of the Building Arts was established 
in 1975. Finally in 1980, Congress passed 
legislation to establish the National Building 
Museum as a public-private partnership among 
the General Services Administration (which 
would provide space for the institution), the 



Department of the Interior (which would pro- 
vide federal jurisdiction for the new organiza- 
tion), and the Museum itself (which would take 
responsibility for funding and developing pro- 
grams and exhibitions). 

In each phase of this evolution, the U.S. 
Pension Building - a nineteenth-century 
Washington, DC, landmark - was designated 
as the home of the National Building Museum. 
In 1967 when the first report on the project 
was issued, there was concern that this historic 
structure might be torn down. Fortunately as 
time passed, the importance of both the site and 
the Museum became more firmly entrenched 
in the minds of decision makers. The General 
Services Administration, as custodian of the 
Pension Building, restored it in the 1980s to 
serve the needs of the National Building Mu- 
seum at its beginning and to accommodate the 
space requirements of federal agencies. Today, 
the challenge is to completely transform the 
Pension Building, programmatically and archi- 
tecturally, into an enduring national celebration 
of the built environment. 

A Few Words 

Concerning This Historic Site 

In a city of monuments, the Pension Building 
is one of Washington, DCs most wonderful 
secrets. The building, which marks the north- 
ern boundary of Judiciary Square and fills an 
entire block between 4th and 5th, F and G 
Streets, NW, is a structure rich with contrasts 
and unexpected surprises that add to its impact 
and significance. On the one hand, as is the 
tradition in the capital, the facade is hallmarked 




The U. S. Pension Building - 
a nineteenth century Washington, 
DC, landmark — was desigruxted 
the home of the National Building 
Museum in 1980. 



Background Notes and the Design Challenge 



by classical detail - in this case, an interpreta- 
tion of the Renaissance Palazzo Farnese in 
Rome. But rather than the stone and marble 
found in many federal edifices, the Pension 
Building is constructed with brick and deco- 
rated with a frieze of terra cotta panels. In an- 
other juxtaposition, the structure reveals its 
function as an office building with an imposing 
rhythm of pedimented windows. Within, how- 
ever, visitors discover not many rooms but the 
Great Hall, an awe-inspiring interior courtyard 
measuring 1 16 by 316 feet which, in its center 
section, rises more than 150 feet. 

The designer of the Pension Building was 
Montgomery C. Meigs (1816-1892), the 
Quartermaster General of the U.S. Army Corps 
of Engineers, and a builder with considerable 
experience. He had constructed aqueducts and 
bridges for Washington, DC, refined various 
projects expanding the U.S. Capitol, erected 



innumerable defense facilities used during the 
Civil War, and supervised the development of 
what is today the Smithsonian Institution's Arts 
and Industries Building. When he received the 
commission for the Pension Building in 1881, 
Meigs had a reputation for being not only a 
competent designer but also a cost-conscious 
and effective administrator. Specifically, the 
mandate for this structure was to build an 
inexpensive, fireproof office for the Civil War 
Pension Bureau. 

Meigs approached the work with his typical 
blend of pragmatism and creativity. Because it 
was both low-cost and fireproof, brick was the 
material of choice. But the decision to exploit 
traditional masonry construction in no way 
limited the engineer's imagination. With its 
classical details and terra cotta frieze depicting 
Civil War veterans, the Pension Building com- 
bined a commitment to long-revered styles with 



Term cotta frieze depicting 
Civil War veterans. 




Beneath each of the exterior 
windows three bricks were left 
out so that ftesh air could flow 
into the offices and then out 
through openings near the top 
of the skylit Great Hall. Meigs 
calculated this would induce a 
change of air every two minutes 
and significantly improve the 
health of the Bureaus employees. 





a contemporary sense of history. And in certain 
respects, the structure was distinctively innova- 
tive. Beneath each of the exterior windows 
three bricks were left out so that fresh air could 
flow into the offices and then out through 
openings near the top of the skylit Great Hall. 
Meigs calculated this would induce a change of 
air every two minutes and significantly improve 
the health of the Bureaus employees. Indeed, 
after the building was occupied, he reported 
that because of his thoughtful design time lost 
by sickness was reduced by 8,622 days over a 
one-year period when compared to offices of 
similar size. Meigs also provided shafts for the 
future installation of elevators and proposed 



illuminating the Great Hall with electric lights 
at night. Another scheme he suggested was to 
landscape the atrium as a grand interior garden. 
This never happened, but even before the Pen- 
sion Building was completed, the sheer wonder 
of the space captured the imagination of Presi- 
dent Grover Cleveland, and he selected the 
Great Hall as the site for his inaugural ball - 
a tradition revived in the twentieth century 
by Richard Nixon and all his successors. 

This, then, is a snapshot of the very special 
place that for the past fifteen years has been 
home for the National Building Museum. In 
the years preceding 1980, the Pension Building 



Background Notes and the Design Challenge 



was occupied by tenants such as the General 
Accounting Office, the Civil Service Commis- 
sion, and the Superior Court of the District of 
Columbia. There are pictures of the Great Hall 
filled with files, desks, and lights, and by the 
1980s, certain details of the design (notably 
tilework, urns, frescoed vaulting, light fixtures, 
and decorative busts) were damaged or 
destroyed. By 1985, most of the clutter had 
been removed, and the interior and exterior 
restoration of the building was well underway. 
The first public exhibitions opened that same 
year. Today the Museum boasts of having pre- 
sented more than fifty exhibitions, almost 
1,000 educational programs including work- 
shops, films, lectures, and symposia, and the 
ability to attract 1 50,000 visitors per year. Still, 
it has always had to share its home with other 
government agencies including most recently, 
the General Accounting Office and the Com- 
mission of Fine Arts. In addition, it depends on 
renting the public spaces - especially the Great 
Hall - for various meetings and social functions 
as a major source of revenue. 




77?^ General Accounting Office 
occupied the Great Hall in 1926, 

filling the wondrous space with 

fitles, desks, and lights. 




The space captured the imagination 
of President Grover Cleveland, and 
he selected the Great Hall as the site 
for his inaugural ball — a tradition 
revived in the twentieth century by 
Richard Nixon and all his successors. 



A Brighter Future 

AND A New Design Mandate 

In the history of both the National Building 
Museum and the Pension Building, 1995 marks 
an important transition. After decades of dedi- 
cated effort, the Museum can at last completely 
transform its landmark venue into an enduring 
home. Until now, individual areas have been 
renovated for various exhibition, office, and 
commercial functions. At this juncture, as a 
component of the Museum's larger Blueprint 
for the Future (a multifaceted master plan for 
the Museum addressing a spectrum of questions 
in such areas as architecture, exhibitions, collec- 
tions, audience development, budgeting and 
fund-raising), the time has come to develop a 
comprehensive design plan. To guide this task, 
the National Building Museum, in cooperation 
with the General Services Administration (GSA), 
identified a series of design issues that focused 
on urban design and architectural concerns, 
identity and orientation issues, and program- 
ming activities. 

In the area of urban design and architecture, 
professional design assistance is needed to: 

I Study the site and its history to develop a 
proposal that will allow the building to function 
effectively as the home of the Museum and 
contribute to the capital's urban fabric. 

I Offer architectural design solutions for using 
the entire building as a museum. 

I Suggest strategies for integrating reconstruc- 
tion and full-scale building exhibitions into the 
Museum and surrounding site. 

I Accentuate innovative and progressive con- 
cepts in the aesthetic and technical dimensions 
of various proposals. 



Identity and orientation issues call for profes- 
sional designers to: 

I Investigate the use of more than one primary 
entrance and the impact this has on orientation, 
access for the physically impaired, the location 
of an information center, and other visitor 
services. 

I Investigate alternative exhibition installation 
and graphic design strategies that can help 
express the presence of the Museum while 
respecting the building's historic character. 

I Develop a logical visitor circulation and move- 
ment system using the entire envelope of space. 

I Resolve the problems associated with distin- 
guishing between office and gallery functions. 

I Create a facility master plan that heightens 
awareness of upper floor galleries and encour- 
ages the public to visit them. 

I Propose ways to maintain the ability to rent 
the Great Hall for private functions while pre- 
serving the Museum's identity. 

And, in the area of programming, professional 
design attention is needed to: 

I Determine the square footage required to 
create a compelling museum experience, and 
propose scenarios for distributing this space 
throughout the building. 

I Identify how spaces for educational program- 
ming and visitor amenities should be accom- 
modated in the Museum. 

I Determine the appropriate location for an 
auditorium. 

I Articulate how the Great Hall can be used 
to exhibit the content of the Museum's mission 
with multimedia displays. 



The Charrette Response and Project Focus 



Clearly, a broad range of design issues needed 
to be addressed. Both the Museum and GSA 
realized, however, that getting too involved 
with details at this early stage of a major long- 
term undertaking could be counterproductive. 
What was needed first was a larger view - a set 
of conceptual proposals that would: 

I Establish design parameters for the 
National Building Museum's master plan. 

I Guide and inform the design of key projects. 

Both groups also felt these recommendations 
should include fresh insights and counsel from 
outside professionals. To this end, GSA and 
the Museum sought the assistance of the 
National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) 
Design Program's Federal Design Improvement 
Program (an initiative that since 1972 has 
advocated and fostered design quality for the 
largest design client in the world - the U.S. 
government). The parties agreed to convene 
a two-day "charrette." Charrette comes from 
a French phrase describing the hectic rush of 
students at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts to com- 
plete their architectural drawings on the cart, 
en charrette, as the boards were being collected 
as entries to various competitions. Today, the 
term refers to a thorough study of any particu- 
lar design problem within a limited time frame. 
From their experience with past cooperative 
undertakings, GSA and NEA knew that the 



outcome from the charrette would accomplish 
two key objectives: First, it would focus atten- 
tion on and generate enthusiasm for the project, 
opening up a valuable dialogue among the 
National Building Museum, GSA, NEA, and 
many private sector constituents involved in 
this effort. Second, it would provide a design 
vision for the Museum - not a final proposal 
nor a design mandate, but a rich set of guide- 
lines from the charrette design team that the 
Museum and GSA could accept, modify or 
reject as they continued to develop the project 
lurther. 

June 21 and 22, 1995, were chosen as the 
dates for the event, and NEA put together a 
multidisciplinary team headed by Deborah 
Sussman, principal in the Los Angeles-based 
and internationally recognized Sussman/Prejza 
& Company identity and environmental design 
firm. Her associates were Jay Farbstein, archi- 
tect/researcher and head of his own firm in 
San Luis Obispo, California, specializing in 
design evaluation and programming; Richard 
Gluckman, a New York City architect whose 
firm has designed numerous arts and museum 
facilities in the United States, Europe and Asia; 
Michael Rock, graphic designer and professor 
at the Yale University School of Art; and Paul 
Trapido, a senior exhibit and visitor center 
designer for the award-winning exhibit design 
firm DMCD Incorporated, in New York City. 



The significant problems 
we face cannot be solved 
at the same level of 
thinking we were at when 
we created them. 

— Albert Einstein 



"The Museum must create 
an identity for itself that 
juxtaposes the dynamic, 
diverse, ever-contemporary 
face of the built environment 
with the historic context of 

ITS HOME." 

— Deborah Sussman 




Articulating a Theme for 
THE Guidelines 

When this diverse group of experts gathered 
in the National Building Museum conference 
room, they had a full agenda. Much of the first 
day was devoted to becoming familiar with the 
issues and scope of the project. There were 
presentations on the mission of the Museum 
and the history of the Pension Building. There 
was a review of how the building has been used 
and a walking tour of the site, interior spaces, 
and current exhibitions. As the dialogue took a 
more creative shift, there was a round-robin 
discussion of critical problems, opportunities, 
and goals. 

The outcome of this exchange of information 
and ideas was consensus on a theme that pro- 
vided an overall framework for a set of guide- 
lines. Specifically, the design team committed 
itself to the notion that: 

The design of national Building Museum 

SHOULD express AND CONTRAST DIFFERENCES 
BETWEEN THE CONTAINER AND THE CONTAINED. 
The Pension Building venue for the Museum is 
a wonderful historic structure, the integrity of 
which must always be preserved and enhanced. 
This reverence, however, should not override 
the necessity for the Museum to have its own 
memorable and independent profile. Just as the 
present edifice contrasts Neoclassicism with 
industrial technology, so the Museum must 
create an identity for itself that juxtaposes the 
dynamic, diverse, ever-contemporary, and in- 
evitably eclectic face of the built environment 
in the United States with the historic context 
of its home. Moreover, this respectful contrast 
should be evident on many scales - as an urban 
design strategy, throughout the immediate site, 
in the building's organization, in the way exhi- 
bitions are presented, and in the details of the 
Museum's new design. 



With this principle defined, the team developed 
guidelines in five major areas on the second 
day. Each of these areas is described in the 
pages that follow: 

Identity and Urban Design Guidelines 

which provide an introduction to and context 
for the Museum in the city; 

Entry Guidelines 

which will help to ensure that the visitor is 
clearly directed towards and welcomed into 
the Museum at the F Street entrance; 

Programming and Exhibition Guidelines 

which will strengthen the presence of the 
Museum within the building envelope and 
help visitors orient themselves and circulate 
among the exhibitions and visitor services; 

Guidelines for the Great Hall 

which will identify this grand space with the 
National Building Museum and invigorate it 
with details and activities; and 

Design Detail Guidelines 

which provide specific design recommendations 
for the building as the home of the National 
Building Museum. 



Identity and Urban Design Guidelines 



Washington, DC, is a ciry of tourists, playing 
host to 19 milhon visitors each year. They come 
to explore the halls and see the monumental 
sites associated with our nation's government. 
They come to see exhibitions at an array of 
world-renowned museums. They come for 
conferences, meetings, and lobbying. They 
come for the city's history and beauty. They 
come to learn and shape the future of the na- 
tion. In this context, the charrette design team 
confirmed the presence of a potentially vast 
audience for the National Building Museum. 
The challenge - in a metropolis full of compet- 
ing attractions - was how to make sure both 
visitors and local residents know about the 
Museum and discover the building. The follow- 
ing guidelines are the team's recommendations 
related to these issues. 

as a complement to the building and 
exhibition design initiative, the national 
Building Museum needs a marketing/ 

PROMOTION program THAT GIVES THE 
institution a VISUAL IDENTITY AND PRESENCE 
EVEN W/HEN IT IS NOT SEEN. 

While easily accessible via Metrorail, the 
National Building Museum is off the tradi- 
tional pathways to Washington's monuments 
and museums. People come because they have 
heard about and want to see the building, the 
Museum, a specific exhibition, and/or the ex- 
cellent museum gift shop. Perhaps a few things 
can be done to increase the number of sponta- 
neous visits (there are some design suggestions 
in later guidelines that might have a modest 
impact in this regard). But essentially, if the 
Museum wishes to increase its audience beyond 
the 1 50,000 it now attracts annually, it must 
do so by creating and promoting a compelling 



identity, one that engages people's interests 
even when the institution or building is unseen. 
Establishing a reputation for exciting exhibi- 
tions will help, but this task also requires a 
marketing/promotion strategy that includes: 
reevaluating the existing logo so that it speaks 
to the content as well as the location of the 
Museum; making sure the Museum is featured 
in tour books and tourist literature; using tech- 
nology to make potential visitors aware of 
the Museum while in their homes and offices, 
and when at hotels and at other museums in 
Washington; and developing a strategic public 
relations and advertising campaign. All these 
activities should be addressed in the Blueprint 
for the Future master plan, including a com- 
mitment to involve professional designers in 
this important effort. 

To ASSURE CONSISTENCY OF VISION OVER 
THE LONG-TERM, A MASTER PLAN SHOULD BE 
DEVELOPED TO GUIDE THE DESIGN OF SPECIFIC 
EXTERIOR AND INTERIOR FEATURES, AS WELL AS 
THE IDENTITY ELEMENTS, OF THE MUSEUM. 
Obviously, the restoration, renovation, and 
adaptive reuse oi the historic Pension Building 
as a world-class museum is a complex undertak- 
ing. Since it is unlikely that the resources to 
complete the work will be available all at once, 
and since there is value in involving a variety 
of different design firms and disciplines in this 
effort over the years, a master plan should be 
prepared that articulates the overall design 
strategy and major elements of the project in 
some detail. This document should establish 
priorities and propose a schedule/sequence for 
various components of the job. It should be 
reviewed and updated periodically. 



10 



As PART OF AN URBAN DESIGN STRATEGY, 
THE BUILDING NEEDS AN EXTERIOR "ICON" 
OR "BEACON" THAT CAN BE SEEN FROM 
A DISTANCE AND ANNOUNCES THE MUSEUM 
AS A SIGNIFICANT PUBLIC INSTITUTION. 
Because it is tucked into the fabric of the city 
and not on a Museum "trail," the National 
Building Museum needs a way to make its 
visual presence known from a distance. Cities 
traditionally exploit a variety of symbols, such 
as a tower, or steeple, or dome, to call out im- 
portant institutions, add interest, and help 
create identifying profiles for districts and 
neighborhoods within the larger urban context. 
In this case, a subtly designed icon, which 
might have a memorable silhouette and/or use 
light, would create a modest presence on the 
Washington, DC, skyline, inviting questions 
and attracting the curious. One suggestion was 
to use the image of cranes as the National 
Building Museum's urban marker. 



FLAGS, BANNERS, AND OTHER SIMILAR DISPLAYS 
ON THE SOUTH SIDE OF THE BUILDING SHOULD 
BE USED NOT ONLY TO ANNOUNCE EXHIBITIONS 
BUT ALSO TO HELP CONVEY THE MESSAGE THAT 
THIS IS A BUILDING THAT WELCOMES VISITORS. 
This would represent a final layer of urban 
design elements. (Along these lines, it is inter- 
esting historically that the building once had 
window awnings.) Today, such hangings should 
be placed along the south, probably perpen- 
dicular to the building in order not to hide the 
dramatic vista of that facade across Judiciary 
Square and from the Metrorail exit. They might 
be made of metal, plywood, or other construc- 
tion materials as well as fabric. They could 
herald the title of exhibitions and, regardless of 
their content, would help express the idea that 
this is a special place that invites the public to 
enter. 



hv^ijLrt 



1 urv; 



The Museum needs to make 
its visual presence known from 
a distance. 







Identity AND Urban Design Guidelines 



As A VISUAL ANCHOR ALONG AN INCREASINGLY 

IMPORTANT F Street corridor, the Museum 
should help generate and participate in 
the development of a streetscape design 
that will link the institution to others 
nearby such as the national portrait 
Gallery, the National Museum of American 
Art and the proposed downtown arena. 
Complementing the "icon" guideline just 
mentioned, a second urban design strategy that 
could help establish a stronger presence lor the 
National Building Museum and encourage 
visitor traffic is to make the Museum part of 
a promenade of public institutions. In this 
particular situation, the National Building 
Museum would be the eastern boundary of 
such a pathway (further to the east, there is a 
sunken highway and an office building for the 
FBI is under construction). To the west, how- 
ever, there are several opportunities to create a 
lively F Street corridor. A new downtown arena 
will be located at 6th Street, and the National 



Portrait Gallery and the National Museum of 
American Art are located between 7th and 9th 
Streets. Ideally, this five-block stretch, which is 
served by two Metrorail stops (Gallery Place 
and Judiciary Square), could be graced with 
well designed paving, landscaping, street furni- 
ture, and lighting, as a way of encouraging 
people to explore and visit the area. If commer- 
cial functions - cafes, bistros, clubs, and private 
galleries - were also to be incorporated within 
and nearby the promenade, the area would be 
all the more attractive. 

At this point, one major difficulty with this 
concept is the fact that the facade of the sports 
arena nearest the National Building Museum is 
being developed as the "back" of the entertain- 
ment facility with few, if any, public amenities. 
To keep open as many options for the future as 
possible, a spokesperson for the National Build- 
ing Museum should discuss this concern with 
the sports arena team as soon as possible. 



A streetscape design should be 
developed to link the Museum 
with other institutions along 
F Street. 



Propoied Sports Arenti 



National Museum 
of American Art 



National Portrait Gallery 
F Street 




12 




Secondary 
Approach 



Icon 



Possible Outdoor 

EXHIBrrSi/PROGRAMS 

-< >■ 



I.D. EXHIBITS 



G Street 



Deemphasize 
Secondary Entry 



Museum 




^-i^ Expand 

. , . : ENTRY Zone 



Courts 



Judiciary 

Square ™^ METRO 

Metrorail I 

Station i 



(@) 



Service/Parking 



Improve 

Dock Appearance 



F Street 




Courts 



Main 
Approach 



Those involved with the next phase of 
the development process should explore 
alternative locations for the "urns" 
currently proposed to define the four 
corners of the museum site. 
As part of the landscape improvements under- 
taken several years ago, four urns were designed 
to define the corners of the National Building 
Museum site within the context of the proposed 
closing of F Street. However, with the develop- 
ment of plans for a downtown sports arena two 
blocks away, it is unlikely that F Street will be 
closed. Given this, the charrette design team 
indicated that the scale and location of the urns 
potentially detracted from the identity and 
design of the Museum. They advocated, at a 
minimum, looking into different options for 
placing the urns around the Museum's site. 




"The CHALLENGE IN A 
CITY FULL OF COMPETING 
ATTRACTIONS IS HOW TO 
MAKE SURE BOTH VISITORS 
AND LOCAL RESIDENTS KNOW 
ABOUT THE MUSEUM." 



-Jay Farbstein 



13 



Entry Guidelines 



Designing a powerful and welcoming entrance 
to a building is crucial. For this reason, the 
team came up with several guidelines concern- 
ing this topic. 

The F Street (south) entrance should 
be developed as the single "front door" 
INTO THE Museum. 

Currently, the public can enter the National 
Building Museum from both F and G Streets 
while the 5th Street (west) side of the building 
is landscaped with a walk that emphasizes a 
door (used only for emergency egress) along that 
face of the structure. These real or imagined 
multiple entries create confusion on the outside 
and make orientation within the Museum more 
difficult. The consensus was that F Street - 
given its gracious siting opposite Judiciary 
Square and almost theatrical on-center axis with 
a Metrorail exit - should be designed, indeed 
celebrated, as the Museum's major entrance. 
This was how the building was originally 
designed, and some of the historical reasons 
for this choice remain persuasive today. As in 
the past, the entrance can be approached axially 
across an open space or, on more contemporary 
terms, from the subway. Moreover, the central 
door can be distinguished within an impressive 
frontal view of the entire Pension Building 
facade. This is a memorable vista that must be 
exploited with signage and perhaps awnings or 



other overhead details that appropriately desig- 
nate this unique structure as the National 
Building Museum. As part of this design effort, 
the entrance itself can and should be renovated 
to accommodate persons with disabilities. Mak- 
ing the south entrance the major entrance will 
be a challenge, however, as the south facade is 
set back only a short distance from F Street. 

The G Street and 5th Street (north and 

WEST) entries and LANDSCAPING SHOULD BE 
REDESIGNED SO THAT THESE AREAS ARE NOT 
PERCEIVED AS ENTRANCES TO THE MUSEUM. 

This is the corollary to the preceding guideline. 
On the north side, the charrette design team 
felt the awning should be removed, and the 
landscaping and paving redesigned to play 
down the curved driveway. This vehicular entry 
still might be used occasionally for dignitaries 
but otherwise should not be regarded as a sig- 
nificant access point. On the west, a landscaped 
outdoor park/exhibition space should replace 
the existing pedestrian pathway. The area might 
display models and/or sculptures, and could, 
perhaps, be set off with a low wall and, if 
feasible, treated as an extension of an interior 
exhibition. 



The F Street entrance should be 
celebrated as the major entrance. 




14 




The transition from the narrow 
entrance into the Great Hall 
should be a carefully articulated 
procession. 



The design for the F Street entrance 

SHOULD EXPLOIT THE METRORAIL EXIT AS PART 
OF THE ENTRY SEQUENCE EVEN BEFORE THE 
BUILDING CAN BE SEEN. 

The challenge is to stimulate visitor interest in 
the Museum in the Metrorail station and create 
a sense of anticipation so the awe-inspiring vista 
at the top of the escalator is linked with the 
Museums identit)' and its many creative exhibi- 
tions. This might include having billboards 
and brochures for people as they emerge from 
the subway. Or it could be expressed with some 
kind of physical link at street level - perhaps 
paving or a clear canopy - between the 
Metrorail escalators and the building. 

The design of the F Street entrance 
should enhance the contrast between 
the tight passage through the walls 
of the building and the explosion into 

the great hall. 

The last dimension of the entry into the 
National Building Museum is the movement 
from the sidewalk into the Great Hall. It is a 
potentially dramatic moment. Visitors have just 



taken in the expansive brick facade, but unless 
they have come to the Museum before, most 
do not suspect the vast covered atrium that 
lies beyond the heavy vaults of the masonry 
entrance. The design team selected for the 
project should take advantage of this surprising 
change of scale. The density and thickness of 
the transition should be amplified with appro- 
priate lighting and material finishes. The arcade 
should be articulated as yet another, different 
layer of space. Finally, as visitors actually arrive 
in the Museum, they should be delivered from 
a procession that is measured and controlled to 
the threshold of the enormous and unexpect- 
edly dynamic environment of the Great Hall. 

The LOADING DOCK (EAST AREA) 
SHOULD BE REDESIGNED. 
Very simply, this is an eyesore. It needs to be 
developed so it does not detract from the build- 
ing, accommodating trucks and parking in a 
manner that blends function with an aesthetic 
that enhances the F Street elevation. 



15 



Programming and Exhibition Guidelines 



Devising the optimum layout and content of 
a museum is a complex undertaking, one not 
solved at a two-day meeting. The charrette 
team did enumerate, however, several concep- 
tual programming and exhibition guidelines 
they hope the National Building Museum, 
GSA, and their designers will consider as the 
project is developed in greater detail. 

As A FIRST STEP IN THE PROGRAMMING 
PROCESS, THE NATIONAL BUILDING MUSEUM 
SHOULD CONCEPTUALLY COMPARE THE 
MERITS AND PROBLEMS OF DIVIDING SUPPORT 
AND EXHIBITION FUNCTIONS HORIZONTALLY 
VERSUS VERTICALLY. 

Not including the Great Hall, arcades, circula- 
tion, and services, there are about 100,000 
square feet of rooms divided fairly evenly over 
four floors that can be used for exhibition and 
support functions. In a fine arts institution, 
35 percent of the space is typically devoted 
to public galleries. At the National Building 
Museum, perhaps up to 40 percent of the 
rooms could be devoted to exhibitions with 
the remaining areas used for support activities 
including research, curatorial, visitor service, 
office, and storage functions. This said (and 
this is simply a rough breakdown using estab- 
lished museum space allocation formulas), the 
initial programming challenge is to decide con- 
ceptually whether to arrange the division of 



exhibition and support functions horizontally 
(e.g., use the lower two floors for exhibitions 
and the upper two floors for support) or verti- 
cally (e.g., use the west side of the building 
for exhibitions and the east side for support). 
To this end, a design team should develop 
space estimates for major functions and evalu- 
ate alternative horizontal and vertical configura- 
tions based on criteria developed from the 
perspective of both visitors and staff including 
such items as exhibition scheduling, ease of 
access, clarity of layout, flexibility, security, and 
safety. 

An INFORMATION/GRAPHIC SYSTEM SHOULD 
BE DEVELOPED THAT ESTABLISHES A HIERARCHY 
OF DATA FROM THE ANNOUNCEMENT OF 
EXHIBITIONS TO THE IDENTIFICATION OF STAIRS, 
VISITOR SERVICES, OFFICES, ETC. 
In a Structure as vast as the Pension Building 
where visitors must select pathways to various 
exhibitions and services from a grand open hall, 
information and circulation options have to be 
communicated clearly and quickly. To facilitate 
wayfinding, the designers should create an 
information and graphics system that incorpo- 
rates a full range of media from the installation 
and exhibition elements mentioned in the 
Guidelines for the Great Hall section of this 
report to the signage for offices, stairs, and 
restrooms. 



16 



The initial programming 
challenge is to decide whether 
to arrange the division of 
exhibitions and support functions 
horizontally or vertically. 



Orientation and the distinction among 

FUNCTIONS within THE BUILDING SHOULD BE 
EASILY UNDERSTOOD. 

Expanding on the previous guideline, the goal 
of the information/graphics system should 
make it possible for visitors to ascertain with 
minimum effort where exhibitions are located, 
where services such as the gift shop, cafe, and 
restrooms might be found, where the audito- 
rium is, and where research, office, and meeting 
facilities are distributed. Without oversimplify- 
ing the sights and sounds in the Great Hall, the 
design should make this orientation as intuitive 
as possible. The information desk should be 
relocated to the Great Hall near the F Street 
entrance where, in addition to Museum staff, 
visitors might discover interactive computer 
terminals to print out itineraries and/or a brief 
orientation audiovisual show. 



CIRCULATION - ESPECIALLY VERTICAL 
CIRCULATION AND THE OPTIONS FOR MOVING 
UP USING STAIRS AND/OR ELEVATORS - 
SHOULD BE REASONABLY SELF-EVIDENT AND 
COMPLEMENT THE DISPOSITION OF FUNCTIONS 
WITHIN THE BUILDING. 

One of the more significant design challenges 
in renovating the entire Pension Building as 
the home of the National Building Museum is 
dealing with vertical circulation. The elevators 
are small and slow, and it is not clear whether 
the stairs meet fire egress codes. In all likeli- 
hood, a new elevator will be needed to accom- 
modate an increasing number of visitors. This 
might be located in the Great Hall either as an 
independent structure or as a feature of the 
installation/intervention described later in this 
document. Whatever its position, the design 
of the elevator should help orient visitors and 
clarify the horizontal or vertical division of 
exhibition and support functions. With respect 
to stairs, the charrette team felt the north stair- 
case should be identified as the primary path 
for visitors who desire to walk. It is generously 
proportioned, and opposite the F Street entry. 
Finally, horizontal circulation is problematic if 
there are areas on a floor that need to be closed 
to visitors. This requires detailed study and 
should be a criterion in evaluating the vertical 
or horizontal division of museum functions. 



VERTICAL DIVISION 



HORIZONTAL Division 




Support 



Exhibition 




Exhibition Support 



17 



Programming and Exhibit Guidelines 



Approximately two-thirds of the exhibition 

SPACE should be DEVOTED TO A PERMANENT, 
CORE EXHIBITION WITH THE REMAINING ONE- 
THIRD USED FOR TEMPORARY EXHIBITIONS. 

This ratio is based on an economic rationale. 
Although temporary exhibitions attract repeat 
visits, they generally require a commitment of 
time and money that can become a burden to 
an institution if too much of its space is desig- 
nated for this type of show. Experience has 
shown that two-thirds permanent/one-third 
temporary offers a reasonable balance in terms 
of the allocation of resources and the ability to 
ensure audience growth. Whatever space the 
National Building Museum reserves for tempo- 
rary exhibitions, it should know what it costs 
to support that effort and budget accordingly. 

The GROUND FLOOR OF THE MUSEUM 
SHOULD INCLUDE FUNCTIONS THAT WILL 
KEEP IT ANIMATED AND FULL OF ACTIVITY 
THROUGHOUT THE DAY. 

One of the charrette team members commented 
that he was astonished by the "profound empti- 
ness" he discovered upon entering the building. 
Without violating the spatial and architectural 
integrity of the Great Hall, it is essential that 
"emptiness" not be the impression the National 
Building Museum leaves with visitors. This 
institution should be full of life. By locating 
exhibitions - one of which should be tempo- 
rary — on the north side of the ground floor, 
there should be a continuous flow of people 
from the F Street entrance across the atrium. 
Visitor service functions - a gift shop and cafe 
seem appropriate - could fill the southern 
rooms, and both exhibitions and visitor services 



could be designed to thoughtfully spill into the 
Great Hall. The cafe might even be an exhibi- 
tion itself with sitting spaces in a construction 
site, furniture made of various building materi- 
als, or niches with computers programmed with 
unique building/design games. Of course, the 
installation/intervention (see Guidelines for 
the Great Hall) will no doubt animate the 
Museum. In addition, however, the designers 
might consider placing the children's area and 
resource center on the ground floor, convening 
demonstrations in one corner of the atrium. 
Interestingly, the charrette team thought the 
auditorium might be located on the second 
floor, drawing people up to that level where the 
dead times during and between shows or lec- 
tures would not be so noticeable. 

Confirming the mission of the 
National Building Museum, exhibitions 

SHOULD explore THE FABRIC OF THE 

built environment in the United States 
rather than present the story of 
monumental buildings. 
This should include exhibitions, displays, pre- 
sentations, and research on a variety ol fascinat- 
ing historical and contemporary topics includ- 
ing urban, suburban and neighborhood design, 
examples oi vernacular and craft architecture 
from across the country, the design process, 
construction techniques, building materials and 
the various building trades, roads and bridges, 
energy conservation, earthquakes and other 
environmental hazards, and a peek into the 
infrastructure of buildings and the services that 
support the places where we live, work, and play. 
Topics the National Building Museum should 
not focus on include the study of well known 
designers and their celebrated architecture. 



18 



4£N5TRO£r 

ORIBNTATWW 
• AfiT otuecT 



The goal is to create a 

dynamic rather than a 
passive museum experience. 




Jma(KI emteamcs 



The National Building Museum should 
consider including nontraditional 
Museum functions as part of its program 

— for example, a BUILDING AND DESIGN 
EXPLORATORIUM, an ENERGY OR BUILDING 
MATERIALS RESOURCE CENTER, A CONSTRUC- 
TION-WATCH SPACE, A DESIGNER'S OFFICE, 
A PUBLIC SCHOOL CLASSROOM, OR AN 
ARCHITECTURAL SCHOOL DESIGN STUDIO. 
Essentially, these and other similar activities 
would help animate the Museum and broaden 
its audience. The exploratorium, for instance, 
would attract children from all age groups with 
demonstrations on how buildings are con- 
structed, earthquake shake tables, and oppor- 
tunities to measure, work with and compare 



various building materials. The professional 
resource center would bring in tradespeople 
and do-it-yourselfers. The construction watch 
space would provide a video "window" into 
one or more actual construction sites with the 
potential for including lunchtime commentary 
from a museum expert. The offices, classroom, 
and studio would permit additional unique 
vistas and interactions related to design and 
building processes. Overall, the intention would 
be to create a dynamic rather than passive mu- 
seum experience that, beyond attracting visitors 
to traditional exhibitions and presentations, 
would serve certain special built-in audiences 
and consider the built environment in America 
as material for the Museum's collection. 



19 



Programming and Exhibit Guidelines 



"The orientation and the 
distinction among functions 
within the building should 
be easily understood." 



Paul Trapido 




Vertical Scheme 



BYU\ A I nOKJ 



Ground floor 



p)(>»Ainoo 



r 




««.>o)mne>o 



Second floor 



m. •ouckiioo 






rVAitj tKJiwjwas 



Di 









•»*<01» tiA^M' 






"^ 



M 



1_^ 



aM:,^LMklO 




Thirdflo 



^yi\h\nou ?f »HuuJ*>^3 





»1^^»1T»C>-^ 


@ 


•fctoi-i* ■hvtsi 


UMUl- 
1 




!^ 


o 




» 










1» 




9 






m 


4 



















^ 




^«w»nv»o 






< / 



Fourth floor 



20 



Horizontal Scheme 






6tWfllT10N / ^ ftlV 



«i«\<inc»j 



u*/* 



T« 



(D /t^ 



«Af« «S»K>P 



Ground floor 



m 



•«T9i 






■ fRClAttT 



Twvs 



I vHon 



Third floor 



~W 



»i»cmwc / »tu»^ mwT8>- 



J" I ^TB: 




Kiev vAtc 









Second floor 



gntvxBinotJ 



^ 



^ 



•smit «i-*^ 



o 

6 

e 
o 



P 



^typ^ LOWb«UTiDM 



Fourth floor 



The Museum should consider 
including nontraditional museum 
fiinctions as part of its program — 
for example, a building and 
design exploritorium, a construction 
watch space, or a designer's office. 



21 



Programming and Exhibit Guidelines 



Structural and mechanical features 

OF THE Pension Building might be exposed 

AS PART OF the EXHIBITION PROGRAM. 

The notion, here, is that the Pension Building 
itself- with its blend of masonry and industrial 
technologies - makes a wonderful display. 
People love to know how things work. Thus, 
by "excavating" walls, floors and maybe even 
ceilings, it would be possible to reveal how this 
awe-inspiring structure stands up, how pipes, 
conduits and ductwork run through the build- 
ing with utilities and services, how the elevator 
functions, how the stairs are constructed, and 
perhaps even how the roof, skylights and trusses 
are designed to keep rain out and, in the 
atrium, let light in. 

The STORAGE, ARCHIVES, AND RESOURCE 
CENTER AREAS SHOULD BE DESIGNED TO PERMIT 
MODEST PUBLIC ACCESS AS EXHIBITION SITES. 

Over the years, the National Building Museum 
has accumulated models, photos, pieces of 
buildings, bricks, construction drawings, post- 
cards, sample building materials, and innumer- 
able other objects. No doubt this trend will 



continue. Hiding these objects in storage or 
making them available only to curators and 
researchers is a terrible waste of resources. Some 
portion of the "back room" functions of the 
Museum should be open to the public. These 
spaces might have casual monthly exhibitions 
and tours of the institution's more interesting 
holdings - objects that might never be part of 
a formal exhibition or perhaps even a preview 
of projects planned for the future. 

Stairs and corridors should, when 
effective, be exploited as exhibition 

SPACES. 

While it would be distracting, and perhaps 
overwhelming, to fill every nook and cranny 
of the Pension Building with exhibitions, 
circulation spaces can serve multiple uses. 
The National Building Museum designers 
should not overlook this opportunity when it 
might complement or enhance other functions. 



"The GROUND FLOOR 
SHOULD INCLUDE FUNCTIONS 
THAT WILL KEEP IT ANIMATED 
AND FULL OF ACTIVITY 
THROUGHOUT THE DAY." 

- Richard Gluckman 




22 



Guidelines for the Great Hall 



The Pension Building's Great Hall is the most 
striking and memorable space in the National 
Building Museum's home. Meigs always envi- 
sioned it as lively and dramatic place, an appro- 
priate setting for an expansive indoor garden 
or an inaugural ball. In this tradition, the time 
has come once again to reinvigorate the atrium 
with details and activities that will ensure its 
vitality day in and day out. The charrette design 
team proposes these guidelines to forward that 
objective. 

Conceptually, the Great Hall should be 
treated as a piazza, part of an interior 
streetscape where the atrium is a grand 
and unique arcaded city square. 

With some 36,000 square feet of skylit space, 
the Great Hall is the architectural culmination 
of a world-class building. In its scale and de- 
tailing, it is indeed an urban space, and as the 
design focal point of the National Building 
Museum, this civic quality should be empha- 
sized. This is the place where people gather, 
where they come to get their bearings, then 
wander off to explore and make exciting discov- 
eries, only to return and set off in another di- 
rection. In this context, the redesign of the 
Great Hall should balance regularity with the 
unexpected. The rhythm and sense of order 
need to be maintained. But like any great piazza, 
there is room for figural elements within this 
framework to energize the space with a valuable 
hierarchy of objects and activities. What is 
particularly exciting about this environment is 
that visitors cannot only observe the combina- 
tion of elements from the square - the atrium — 
itself, but also from the multistory buildings - 
the arcades - that surround the square. 



The VISUAL HIGHLIGHT OF THE GREAT HALL 

should be a multistory installation/ 
intervention that becomes the campanile 
of that extraordinary space, an object 
that reflects the mission of the national 
Building Museum and potentially 
incorporates exhibition, information, 
multimedia projection, circulation and 
other functions. 

There was a unanimous and strong belief that 
the Great Hall and identity of the Museum 
itself would be significantly enhanced by this 
kind of major interior construction. Because it 
does not exist, however, and because the char- 
rette team did not want to stifle creativity with 
preconceptions, it is difficult to describe the 
specifics of this addition. Still, there was con- 
sensus on the general qualities and character of 
this object and some of the functions it might 
embody. It should be sited in the northwest 
area of the atrium, clearly visible as the figural 
event upon entering the Great Hall. It should 
be both sculpture and architecture. Its style 
should be contemporary, perhaps with allusions 
to historical building elements. It might have 
construction/engineering features - scaffolding, 
beams, bridges, the cross-section of a building 
facade. It might penetrate the arcades at certain 
points. It could include an elevator and/or stairs 
with access to the Museum's upper floors. It 
could be the projection center for a sound and 



23 



Guidelines for the Great Hall 




24 



"Without violating the 
integrity of the great hall, 
it is essential that 
'emptiness' not be the 
impression the museum 
leaves with visitors." 

— Michael Rock 



light show. It could receive projections. It could 
be decked out with screens and monitors as an 
interactive, multimedia event. It could be part 
of the information center. Above all, paralleling 
the impact of the atrium, it should be the mod- 
ern "Ah Ha!" event, the heartbeat, the memo- 
rable image of the National Building Museum. 

exhibitions in spaces around the 
Great Hall should include elements 

THAT "announce" THOSE EVENTS TO PEOPLE 
STANDING IN THE ATRIUM. 
These should not compete with the installa- 
tion/intervention just described, but they 
should have a presence in the Great Hall and be 
significant enough in terms of size to indicate 
the locations and content of exhibitions. Such 
"signs" could include screens, banners, panels, 
buildings, or pieces of buildings, cantilevers, 
passageways, or bridges. They could emerge 
from the floor or be suspended from a ceiling. 
They could lead people from the atrium or 
arcade directly into exhibition spaces. And, they 
could be made of any number of materials - 
fabric, plywood, metal, masonry, or plastic. 



While interventions and objects in 
THE Great Hall should be planned so 

THAT IT continues TO BE POSSIBLE TO HOLD 
NON-MUSEUM, PUBLIC ACTIVITIES IN THAT 
SPACE, MOST OF THESE OBJECTS SHOULD 
REMAIN VISIBLE AND CONVEY THE MESSAGE 
TO GUESTS THAT THEIR EVENT IS BEING HELD 

AT THE National Building Museum. 
Well designed, the additions to the Great Hall 
might contrast with but will not destroy the 
integrity of that atrium. They also will become 
the visual identity of the National Building 
Museum and, as such, should not be removed 
or hidden (certain minor objects might be 
rolled away or stored to accommodate activi- 
ties) when the space is rented for non-museum 
events. The space above the ground plane of the 
Great Hall also could be used to suspend dis- 
plays from the ceiling. These objects could be 
moved up and down, if needed, to accommo- 
date non-museum events and activities. Indeed, 
the goal should be to design a Great Hall so 
exciting that organizations will want to use it 
because it is the National Building Museum, 
assuring the institution that its stream of rental 
income (currently, about $1 million per year) 
can be maintained. 




The Great Hall should be so 
exciting that organizations will 
want to use it because it is the 
National Building Museum, 
assuring the institution its stream 
of rental income. 



25 



Design Details Guidelines 



Although the charrette team did not focus on 
design details, it did make the following specific 
recommendations: 

The tile floor in the Great Hall 

SHOULD BE restored. 

Conceptually, as a piazza, the atrium should be 
paved in a hard material. The tilework should 
also be restored because, anticipating heavy 
visitor traffic, it is much more attractive and 
durable than carpeting. This change might 
generate acoustical problems, but assuming 
these can be mitigated with other design strate- 
gies, the return to a beautifully tiled floor is 
well worth the effort and investment. 

The arcade lighting should be 
redesigned to illuminate those corridors 
more architecturally and help identify 
exhibition and public spaces. 
Existing arcade lighting is dull and sometimes 
insufficient. New lighting should play up the 
interior layers and architectural forms of the 
building. It should call out exhibition and cir- 
culation functions. It might also include the 
infrastructure to support future special effects. 



There should be a stronger contrast 

IN THE palette OF COLORS, IF THE INTERIOR 
IS TO BE PAINTED. 

Over the decades, the Pension Building atrium 
has known many different color schemes. Origi- 
nally, the first floor columns were maroonish- 
brown. The faux-marble effect on the great 
columns was introduced in the 1890s. The 
present hues revive a 1915-look and are so close 
in value they do little to bring out the architec- 
tural character of the Great Hall. A 1990s 
approach might use colors that contrast more 
dramatically to call out the elements and layers 
of the building. An additional idea was to use 
a section of the arcade to portray the variety of 
color schemes as they have changed over time. 

The BUILDING DESIGN TEAM SHOULD 
EXPLORE THE OPTION OF LETTING THE NATURAL 
COLOR AND TEXTURE OF MATERIALS BECOME 
PART OF THE COLOR SCHEME OF THE MUSEUM. 
This might be done selectively - on certain 
floors or for certain features of the building. 
Allowing the materials - such as metal or 
stone - to be exposed might be a substitute 
for painting. 



The tile floor should be restored 
and the natural color and texture 
of materials exposed in various 
places. 




26 




The visual highlight of the 
Great Hall should be a 
multistory object that reflects 
the mission of the Museum. 



Appendix 1 : Summary of the Guidelines 



Project Theme 

I The design of the National 
Building Museum should 
express and contrast differ- 
ences between the container 
and the contained. 



Identity and Urban 
Design Guidelines 

I As a complement to the 
building and exhibition design 
initiative, the National Build- 
ing Museum needs a market- 
ing/promotion program that 
gives the institution a visual 
identity and presence even 
when it is not seen. 

I To assure consistency of 
vision over the long-term, a 
master plan should be devel- 
oped to guide the design of 
specific exterior and interior 
features, as well as the identity 
elements, of the National 
Building Museum. 

I As part of an urban design 
strategy, the building needs 
an exterior "icon" or "beacon" 
that can be seen from a dis- 
tance and announces the Mu- 
seum as a significant public 
institution. 

I Flags, banners, and other 
similar displays on the south 
side of the building should be 
used not only to announce 
exhibitions but also to help 



convey the message that this 
is a building that welcomes 
visitors. 

■ As a visual anchor along an 
increasingly important F Street 
corridor, the Museum should 
help generate and participate 
in the development of a 
streetscape design that will 
link the institution to others 
nearby such as the National 
Portrait Gallery and the Na- 
tional Museum of American 
Art and the proposed down- 
town arena. 

I Those involved with the next 
phase of the development 
process should explore alterna- 
tive locations for the "urns" 
currently proposed to define 
the four corners of the Na- 
tional Building Museum site. 



Entry Guidelines 

I The F Street (south) entrance 
should be developed as the 
single "front door" into the 
Museum. 

I The G Street and 5th Street 
(north and west) entries and 
landscaping should be rede- 
signed so that these areas are 
not perceived as entrances to 
the Museum. 

I The design for the F Street 
entrance should exploit the 
Metrorail exit as part of the 
entry sequence even before the 
building can be seen. 



I The design of the F Street 
entrance should enhance the 
contrast between the tight 
passage through the walls of 
the building and the explosion 
into the Great Hall. 

I The loading dock (east area) 
should be redesigned. 



Programming and 
Exhibition Guidelines 

I As a first step in the 
programming process, the 
National Building Museum 
should conceptually compare 
the merits and problems of 
dividing support and exhibi- 
tion functions horizontally 
versus vertically. 

I An information/graphic 
system should be developed 
that establishes a hierarchy of 
data from the announcement 
of exhibitions to the identifi- 
cation of stairs, visitor services, 
offices, etc. 

I Orientation and the distinc- 
tion among functions within 
the building should be easily 
understood. 

I Circulation - especially 
vertical circulation and the 
options for moving up using 
stairs and/or elevators - should 
be reasonably self-evident and 
complement the disposition of 
functions within the building. 



I Approximately two-thirds of 
the exhibition space should be 
devoted to a permanent, core 
exhibition with the remaining 
one-third used for temporary 
exhibitions. 

I The ground floor of the 
Museum should include 
functions that will keep it 
animated and full of activity 
throughout the day. 

I Confirming the mission 
of the National Building 
Museum, exhibitions should 
explore the fabric of the built 
environment in the United 
States rather than present 
the story of monumental 
buildings. 

I The National Building 
Museum should consider 
including nontraditional 
museum functions as part 
of its program - for example, 
a building and design explora- 
torium, an energy or building 
materials resource center, 
a construction-watch space, 
a designer's office, a public 
school classroom, or an archi- 
tectural school design studio. 

I Structural and mechanical 
features of the Pension Build- 
ing might be exposed as part 
of the exhibition program. 

I The storage, archives, and 
resource center areas should 
be designed to permit modest 
public access as exhibition 
sites. 



28 



I Stairs and corridors should, 
when effective, be exploited as 
exhibition spaces. 



Guidelines for 
THE Great Hall 

I Conceptually, the Great Hall 
should be treated as a piazza, 
part of an interior streetscape 
where the atrium is a grand 
and unique arcaded city 
square. 

I The visual highlight of the 
Great Hall should be a multi- 
story installation/intervention 
that becomes the campanile 
of that extraordinary space, an 
object that reflects the mission 
of the National Building Mu- 
seum and potentially incorpo- 
rates exhibition, information, 
multimedia projection, circu- 
lation and other functions. 

I Exhibitions in spaces around 
the Great Hall should include 
elements that "announce" 
those events to people stand- 
ing in the atrium. 

I While interventions and 
objects in the Great Hall 
should be planned so that it 
continues to be possible to 
hold non-museum, public 
activities in that space, most 
of these objects should remain 
visible and convey the message 
to guests that their event is 
being held at the National 
Building Museum. 



DESIGN Details 
Guidelines 

I The tile floor in the Great 
Hall should be restored. 

I The arcade lighting should 
be redesigned to illuminate 
those corridors more architec- 
turally and help identify exhi- 
bition and public spaces. 

I There should be a stronger 
contrast in the palette of col- 
ors, if the interior is painted. 

I The building design team 
should explore the option of 
letting the natural color and 
texture of materials become 
part of the color scheme of 
the Museum. 



Students construct a house in 
the Great Hall in the If I Had 
a Hammer program. 




29 



Appendix 2: The Design Team and Participants in the Charrette 



This charrette involved several different groups. 
Five designers were selected to lead that dimen- 
sion of the discussion and their biographies 
follow. In addition, the National Building Mu- 
seum, GSA, and NEA each invited several 
other participants. Their names and affiliations 
are listed after the biographies. 

The Design Team 

Jay Farbstein 

(San Luis Obispo, CA) 

Jay Farbstein is an architect and researcher and 
heads Jay Farbstein Associates, in San Luis Obispo, 
California, which specializes in design evaluation 
and programming. He has written numerous 
articles and handbooks and is author, with 
Min Kantrowitz, oi People and Places: Experienc- 
ing, Using and Changing the Built Environment. 
He was a juror for the NEA Design Research 
Recognition Program in 1983, and he has won 
a number of awards for his work, including two 
awards from Progressive Architecture for applied 
research and a research award from the Royal 
Institute of British Architects. Mr. Farbstein 
holds a Ph.D. in Environmental Studies and is 
a registered architect. 

Richard Gluckman 
(New York, NY) 

Richard Gluckman formed Richard Gluckman 
Architects in 1977, in a loft in theTribeca section 
of New York City, where the firm is still practic- 
ing today. The firm has been involved in a wide 
range of commercial, residential and institutional 
projects throughout the United States and in the 
People's Republic of China and Spain. From the 
beginning, a major component of Mr. Gluckman's 
practice has been the design of art-related facili- 
ties. Mr. Gluckman has worked on site specific 
art installations with many artists including Dan 
Falvin, Walter DeMaria, James Turrell, jenny 
Holzer, and Richard Serra. As architects lor the 



DIA Center for the Arts for fifteen years, the firm 
has worked on the conversion of numerous indus- 
trial buildings into exhibition, storage, and ad- 
ministrative spaces. The firm recently completed 
the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh and 
other work for the Whitney Museum ol American 
Art, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the 
Carnegie Museum of Art, and Site Santa Fe. 
Mr. Gluckman received his architectural degree 
from Syracuse University. 

Deborah Sussman, CharretteTearn Chair 
(Culver City, CA) 

In creating visual images and applying them in 
highly inventive ways to a variety of architectural 
and public spaces, Deborah Sussman is widely 
acknowledged as a pioneer in the field of environ- 
mental graphic design. 

Ms. Sussman is a principal of Sussman/Prejza 
in Culver City, CA. Her career began in the office 
of Charles and Ray Fames. She opened her own 
olfice in Los Angeles in 1968, incorporating 
Sussman/Prejza & Co., Inc. in 1980. The multi- 
disciplinary staff is internationally recognized for 
developing imagery tor urban, architectural, and 
corporate identity programs. S/P s clients include 
Hasbo Inc., Disney Development, and Apple 
Computer. The firm led the team that developed 
the environmental graphics lor the 1984 Olympic 
Games in Los Angeles, considered a milestone in 
the history of urban graphics. 

S/P's many architectural collaborations include 
Phillip Johnson, Moore Ruble Yudell, Barton 
Myers, Cesar Pelli, Pei Cobb Freed, and SOM. 

S/P was featured as the cover story in Interiors 
magazine (February '95) and is the subject ol 
a 144 page monograph recently published by 
Process Architecture. 

Michael Rock 
(New York, NY) 

Michael Rock is an Associate Professor of Design 
at the Yale University School of Art and contrib- 
uting editor and graphic design critic at I.D. 
Magazine in New York. Currently an associate 



30 



with 2x4, he has worked with a range of chents 
inckiding Levi Strauss and Company, MIT List 
Gallery, International Center of Photography, 
Architecture New York, and Monacelli Press. This 
work has received awards from a variety of profes- 
sional organizations and publications including 
the American Institute of Graphic Artists, Print- 
ers Society of America, Graphis, The Society of 
Illustrators, Print, and the American Center for 
Design. Previously, he was cofounder and partner 
of the graphic design and photography studio, 
(i)nformation incorporated, in Boston. From 
1984-1991 he was Adjunct Professor of Graphic 
Design at the Rhode Island School of Design. 
Mr. Rock holds a B.A. in Humanities from Union 
College and a Master of Fine Arts in Graphic 
Design from the Rhode Island School of Design. 

Paul Trapido 
(New York, NY) 

Paul Trapido is a project manager and specialist 
in museum and visitor center design with 
DMCD, Incorporated, a leading New York City- 
based museum exhibit design firm. At DMCD, 
Mr. Trapido has just completed managing the 
Panasonic Learning Lab installation, an interac- 
tive multimedia environment that required com- 
plete design, systems programming, and integra- 
tion for over 20 CD-ROM laptop computers, a 
video wall, video conferencing, 3DO technology, 
and more traditional exhibitry. He also recently 
completed the master plan and exhibit concepts 
for the Mighty Eighth Air Force Heritage Museum 
in Savannah, Georgia. Currently, Mr. Trapido is 
a senior designer and project manager for the 
95,000 square foot PETRONAS Petroleum Dis- 
covery Centre in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Some 
of his previous design projects include: the Texas 
Seaport Museum in Galveston, Texas; the Cody 
Firearms Museum in Cody, Wyoming; and the 
Martin and Osa Johnson Safari Museum in 
Chanute, Kansas. He has designed exhibits for 
the Brooklyn Children's Museum and the Staten 
Island Children's Museum. Mr. Trapido holds 
degrees in environmental design and photography. 



National Building 
Museum Participants 

Susan Henshaw Jones 

President and Director 

Donald Albrecht 

Project Director/ 
Blueprint for the Future 

Jacqueline V. Eyl 

Volunteer and 

Visitor Services Coordinator 

Edward McWilliams 

Facilities Manager 



GSA Participants 

Andrea Mones-O'Hara 

Regional Historic Preservation 
and Fine Arts Officer, 
National Capital Region 

NEA Participants 

Samina Quraeshi 

Director, Design Program 

Thomas Grooms 

Director, Federal Design 
Improvement Program, 
Design Program 

Thomas Walton, Ph.D. 

Rapporteur, School of 
Architecture and Planning, 
The Catholic University 
of America 



31 



Appendix 3: Charrette Agenda 



Wednesday, 21 June 1995 

9:00 Welcome 

Susan Henshaw Jones 

President and Director, 
National Building Museum 

Samina Quraeshi 

Director, Design Program, NEA 

Andrea Mones-O'Hara 

Regional Historic Preservation 
and Fine Arts Officer, 
National Capital Region, GSA 

9:15 Challenges Presented by the Building 

Susan Henshaw Jones 

President and Director, 
National Building Museum 

Donald Albrecht 

Project Director/Blueprint for the Future, 
National Building Museum 

9:30 History of the Site and Building 

Andrea Mones-O'Hara 

Regional Historic Preservation 
and Fine Arts Officer, 
National Capital Region, GSA 

9:45 Break 

1 0:00 Tour of the Building 

Jaqueline Eyl 

Volunteer and Visitor Services 
Coordinator, National Building Museum 

Edward McWilliams 

Facilities Manager, 
National Building Museum 



11 :00 Initial Observations and 

Organization of the Charrette 

12:00 Lunch 

1:00 Charrette Continues 

3:00 Break 

3:30 Charrette Continues 

5:30 Adjourn 

Thursday, 22 June 1995 

8:45 Reconvene Charrette 

12:30 Lunch 

1:30 Charrette Continues 

3:30 Wrap-Up and Preparation for Presentation 

4:30 Presentation and Summary of 
Design Guidelines 

Attending: 

Board members and staff of the 
National Building Museum, staff of 
the General Services Administration, 
and staff of the National Endowment 
for the Arts. 

5:30 Adjourn 



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